Das Boot: A Mario 3 Tribute
It’s no secret that Super Mario Brothers 3 for the NES is often voted one of the greatest games on that system and is cherished amongst a whole generation of gamers. Many of us have a soft spot for it that’s hard to deny. This particularly installment to the series took everything that worked about the first two games and improved upon it in just about every way (the same can be said for its follow up on the SNES, Super Mario World). Exotic themed worlds, better play controls, crazy new suits and abilities were all welcome editions, but there’s one thing in particular that forever sticks out in my mind.
World 5 is by far my favorite in this game. For the uninitiated, World 5 is made up of 2 different segments. The first half is largely standard fare Mario boards but after you get through a tower (basically a castle level) you’re connected to a different portion of the world that takes place amongst the clouds. Bespin, it ain’t, but damn it’s a lot of fun.
In level 3 of World 5 for an unspecified reason (it’s a video game after all, logic is clearly thrown out the window) a goomba is riding around in this giant green wind up boot that is roughly the size of Mario. Jump on top of said Goomba and he will vacate the boot. After that you’ve got it all to yourself. I’m not sure what it is that makes this boot so exciting, but it’s a joy. Maybe it’s the fact that you can jump on spikes or those crazy chomping piranha plants and not get hurt or maybe it’s that your hopping from place to place crushing everyone below you. Either way, it’s an incredible feeling. Despite the childish amount of excitement I get out of Mario’s Tanooki suit in this game, I get even more excited to ride in that giant green boot.
Get your thrills while you can though, because this is it. Das Boot or Goomba’s Shoe (as its officially called) appears in this stage and this stage only and in no other game until 2012’s Paper Mario: Sticker Star, but I don’t know a damn thing about that game. If you lose das boot though, don’t fret you can pick up another one later in the board.
It’s impressive that a game so highly praised and with so many weird quirks that this still sticks out in my mind amongst all the others. So here’s to you Goomba’s Shoe aka Das Boot, crusher of dreams and spines and friend to Italian plumbers everywhere.
All images and characters depicted are copyright of their respective owners.